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Hurel hopes grant program spurs innovation of its cell-based technology

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North Brunswick biotech Hurel Corp. is launching a grant program — with a commitment of up to $150,000 in its own money — to spur innovation of its cell-based technologies used in pharmaceutical and industrial toxicological research.

Hurel is inviting qualified academic research scientists to submit funding proposals for projects that will look for new uses of Hurel's cell-based models.

Hurel produces three-dimensional tissue cultures that can simulate and predict the actual function of liver and other organs.

In the case of animals, Hurel says its in vitro products promise to reduce reliance on live animals for drug and toxicity testing because its cell-based models can deliver faster and more accurate results.

Hurel has developed product lines based on human, dog, and rat species, termed Hurelhuman, Hureldog and Hurelrat, respectively.

"We are intensely curious to see how our academic colleagues, drawing on their knowledge and scientific imaginations, may seek to probe its capabilities and push the envelope of its potential applications," Hurel's chief scientific officer, Dr. Martin Yarmush, said in a statement.

Hurel has received funding from the Humane Society of the United States and $9.2 million in private financing from Spring Mountain Capital to support commercial launch of its products plus further research and development.

Hurel anticipates releasing its call for proposals in late October. The document will be available online at hurelcorp.com. The anticipated deadline is January 30; Hurel expects to announce grant awards March 15.

The company has developed a scientific advisory board consisting of medical and pharmaceutical experts to serve as the grant review committee.

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